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    How to Speak with Your Landlord about Repairs Affecting Business?

    Q: How would you handle a situation where repairs are needed to your space, but you can't be in the space during the repairs? The landlord's offered an empty space in the same building, literally just two spaces to the left. However, he wants me to pay at a higher rent while we're there temporarily.

    A: Wow, that’s a tough call. I don't know an easy answer because the reality is you have a lease which probably spelled out every single thing that he's doing and by the numbers. He or she is doing exactly what they told you when you signed that lease originally.

    Consider that maybe if it's going to take a couple of weeks, maybe this is a good time for you to just close the store for two weeks and everybody can see that it's being renovated. Cover your windows, talk about it.

    You can have a grand reopening in two weeks, and use this as an opportunity to jump-start your business because now you have a new story to talk about and remerchandise and everything else.

    But for God's sake, whatever you do, don't just move out of it for two weeks and it looks exactly the same. Or maybe it's three months, it doesn't matter, you're gonna look exactly the same as you did.

    I think the conversation is take the guy or gal out to a local coffee house or Starbucks and talk it out. First meet with your lawyer to know what you can and can't do. But the reality is they hold all the cards. So, make the best of it and, again, remember there's a human being you're dealing with because fighting them, that's the other thing I run into.

    So many independent retailers want to fight their brands or their distributors like, "They always want us to do what they want to do and we don't want to do it because we're independents." That gets you nowhere.

    At the end of the day, you're both in the same boat. If the distributor loses the retailer, they're not going to be in business that long. If the retailer loses the distributor, you're going to have fewer choices. So why not work together?

    And sales reps, the same thing. Why don't you work together instead of the conversations you have about they want you to do this, "Oh, I'm your buddy. I don't want to steer you the wrong way."

    Why don't you find a way to find common ground instead of continuing that back and forth because at the end of the day that's what's poisoning America right now is this whole idea like, "Well, you're a jerk, man." "No, you're a jerk. "And here's why you're a jerk because I read something that says you're a jerk."

    At the end of the day, where do we go from there? We're all jerks which means all of our customers are jerks and our clients and our employees and then what do you do? 

    You might as well just be at home, grumpy, cat sitting, hating life and watching cat videos all day. Talk to your landlord.

    See also, How do you handle competitors coming into your store to steal pictures of your inventory?

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